*Pastor’s Note: Remember because of the need to explain at times in detail, the lessons have been divided up into parts.
In the last lesson, if you remember, we covered God’s Justice and Righteousness as moral attributes that we also can imitate by example.
Again I want to remind the readers that concerning the Attributes of God that can be imitated, at least to the extent we can with the Holy Spirit’s help, that the Apostle Paul made this statement in his letter to the Ephesians:
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” – Ephesians 5:1-2.
Also, if you will remember, I opened in the introduction that I believe that many of the attributes of God are based in His being Love itself. Again, some scholars believe love is lower on the “list” as it were, but I believe that we can’t have justice and righteousness for instance if not for God’s actually being the embodiment of Love.
With that in mind we are going to delve into another attribute that I believe stems from God/Love and though I place it here, it is only because I believe it is one of the most comprehensive attributes that God demonstrates in His capacity to love. Also, I might add, that several other attributes stem from, if not actually equal too this next attribute.
I will admit, many scholars place this at the very top of their “lists” but I believe they do based solely on the number of Scriptures and Bible references related to this attribute. However you, yourself view any of these attributes, the important point is that they make up WHO God is and WHAT His character and nature IS and these are the ones that we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help, emulate and demonstrate to the world around us. With that in mind, let’s move on.
GOODNESS: I would like to state again, that goodness, the attribute is probably the most comprehensive in the sense that it truly comprises every aspect of God’s character. The dictionary states a lot of definitions depending on its context, but I like this for what we are studying:
1: (adjective) of the highest worth or reliability,
2: (noun) praiseworthy character: goodness
Which brings us to the attribute of Goodness.
The same dictionary states the definition of goodness as;
1: (noun) the quality or state of being good 
Many believe that the true essence of Christianity is in actuality, goodness. God is the absolute personification of the attribute that makes up His character. His goodness is not only worthy and reliable; not only praiseworthy, but perfect in the state of being good. God deals very richly and abundantly with His creation when it comes to His goodness as the Psalmist wrote:
The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. – Psalm 145:9.
Jesus also stated very emphatically when someone called Him good, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” – Mark 10:18 (Luke 18:19).
Those that call God, Lord, and those who are born again, praise God for His goodness:
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34 (2 Chronicles 5:13).
Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 106:1 (Psalm 107:1; 118:1; 136:1).
“Praise the LORD of hosts, For the LORD is good, For His mercy endures forever” – Jeremiah 33:11.
As reiterated in Paul’s statement to the Ephesians which I reminded you in the beginning, Jesus Himself commanded us to imitate or emulate the Father’s very nature within our own lives by actions and not just words as found in Matthew 5:39-48 and Luke 6:27-36.
God can be considered as “living goodness” and thus we have a duty to try and imitate within our life as well. As I have stated so many times before, Christianity is NOT a religion. Christianity is a changed, totally from the inside out, LIFESTYLE.
You see so many in this world today talk about lifestyle changes and one so very common is in connection with dieting. So many experts tell you if you truly want to lose weight and get healthy, you can’t just diet now and then, it just won’t work. You have to change your lifestyle for your goal to be reached and you find success.
Well, I don’t want to make something so grandly spiritual seem petty, but the same holds true with Christianity. Those that are successful are those who have surrendered to Christ’s will and have allowed Him through His Holy Spirit to create within them a whole new life! Those that try and do it themselves by “being good” and fulfilling their religious obligations a couple of times a week, will never, ever walk in the peace, assurance, strength AND power of one who has given up their old life to follow anew in Christ Jesus. As shown by the words of Jesus, Himself, there is no one good; no one is good enough to make it by themselves; only God is GOOD.
So therefore, God’s goodness is the eternal spiritual principle which causes God to demonstrate and manifest His own being, His own life, as it were, as well as His blessedness to those of His creation. I want to make this clear, God is good to ALL His creation for remember what Jesus told all in Matthew 5:45, “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Now don’t take this wrong like so many do and have in the past. This Scripture is telling us that God sends “blessings and growth” upon the just and unjust. Rain in the Bible always symbolizes God’s goodness towards ALL His creation!
This is a perfect time to jump in and let you know that in almost all cases, I said almost, mercy is associated with God’s goodness. You can’t have mercy without God’s goodness and you can’t have goodness without God’s mercy. They are intertwined, a part of one another. This is why I say that the attribute of God’s goodness is so comprehensive. Like His Love, there are some things that could not or would not be a part of His nature without the other.
Almost every Christian understands what mercy is; a simple quote is that “mercy is NOT getting what we actually deserved to get.” Similar to goodness though, mercy is the eternal spiritual principle which causes God to demonstrate and manifest the temporary good and the eternal salvation and redemption to those who have opposed His will at one time by making even the ultimate and infinite sacrifice to Himself. God gives His all for the sake of all His creation even if they don’t want it. He won’t force it on them, but He has made the gift of that sacrifice available if they are willing to accept it. Even though we don’t deserve it, His goodness drives His mercy to offer it freely. His mercy then causes His goodness to be manifested and demonstrated.
Thus you can see why in the Scriptures quoted above, His mercy is every bit a part of His goodness and it is not just because His people praise Him that way, it is because His true children really do worship Him in Spirit and Truth! (John 4:24).
So, in line with God’s goodness we see God’s mercy manifested towards His creation. In His mercy, God reveals Himself as a compassionate God who pities those who are in the misery of darkness and the depths of despair and therefore, He is ever ready to relieve their distress and pain in a way that they themselves cannot.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. – Psalm 86:5.
Therefore, concerning God’s goodness, it is His creation that benefits and ALL of creation benefits to one degree or another because “God IS Good.” All the good things that mankind especially enjoys today, in the present and expect to have in the future, come to us from the unfailing and overflowing goodness that IS God. Here again, we see that we cannot separate God from His attribute or nature. This may be hard to grasp, but when you meditate and contemplate that God IS what His character portrays, it does get a little easier to comprehend though I doubt that our finite minds in the present state will ever fully comprehend His nature and the state of His BEING.
Another aspect of God’s goodness, an aspect that is very much a part of “God being good,” is His longsuffering. This is one of those attributes along with mercy that is a part of His being. Again, and I can’t stress it enough, He IS longsuffering. This attribute is far more than just patience also. A similar term with just a slightly different connotation would be “forbearance.”
Forbearance is considered to be patient self-control or discipline. It requires and utilizes restraint and tolerance. Now, longsuffering when it relates to God would be considered to be patient forbearance. I know this may seem like using a synonym to create a new definition but in truth there is a subtle yet distinct difference.
God forbears with us when He bears with our faults done out of weakness, such as sins we might commit without actual thought such as something that has become habit. We still need to repent of them, but in that forbearing, He is extremely patient with us.
On the other hand, longsuffering would be considered patience when He bears with the wrongs that we intentionally do, in other words, deliberate and purposeful sin. God endures with us out of His love AND goodness desiring us to repent.
It is the difference between negligent acts or unknown sins and purposeful acts or wanton sin and yet both those still need to be repented of. He forbears with us in the negligent and He is longsuffering with us in the intentional sins. It is all based in His love AND goodness that makes up His nature.
In closing I want to share a definition from Easton’s Bible Dictionary:
Goodness of God—a perfection of his character which he exercises towards his creatures according to their various circumstances and relations (Psalm 145:8, 9; 103:8; 1 John 4:8). Viewed generally, it is benevolence; as exercised with respect to the miseries of his creatures it is mercy, pity, compassion, and in the case of impenitent sinners, long-suffering patience; as exercised in communicating favor on the unworthy it is grace. “Goodness and justice are the several aspects of one unchangeable, infinitely wise, and sovereign moral perfection. God is not sometimes merciful and sometimes just, but he is eternally infinitely just and merciful.” God is infinitely and unchangeably good (Zephaniah 3:17), and his goodness is incomprehensible by the finite mind (Romans 11:35, 36). “God’s goodness appears in two things, giving and forgiving.” 
The best thing that I can leave with you in these lessons on the Nature, Attributes and even Character of God, is to encourage you to spend time in thought and prayer, meditation as it were, on the truth and fact that GOD IS.
I truly believe if you take time, you will be blessed and actually develop a clearer understanding of Who it is that we worship in Spirit and Truth! God Bless!